SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- In many cases, favourite recipes can be modified so they have a lower fat content.
- Choose to steam, bake, grill, braise, boil or microwave your foods, rather than deep fry them.
- Use non-stick cookware.
- Microwave or steam your vegetables instead of boiling them to retain the nutrients.
About healthy eating
Eating healthy food doesn’t mean giving up your favourite recipes. Some simple swaps and a little bit of planning can help you make life-long, healthy changes to your diet.
Shop for healthy food
Some shopping tips to get you started:
- Make a shopping list before you shop and plan what meals you’re going to eat.
- Keep the pantry stocked with ingredients that are quick to prepare and easy to cook.
- Stock up on seasonal , , .
- Choose the lower fat versions of a food if possible – for example , cheese, yoghurt, salad dressings and gravies.
- Choose lean cuts and skinless chicken breasts.
- Limit fast foods, chips, crisps, processed meats, pastries and pies, which all contain large amounts of fat.
Switch to healthier fats
Choose lean meats and reduced-fat and limit processed foods to minimise hidden . Nuts, seeds, , , olives and avocado are all healthier options because they include the essential long-chain fatty acids and these fats are accompanied by other good nutrients.
If you add fats when cooking, use healthier oils such as olive and canola oil. And try these tips to reduce the amount of fat needed in cooking:
- Cook in liquids (such as stock, wine, lemon juice, fruit juice, vinegar or water) instead of oil.
- Use pesto, salsas, chutneys and vinegars in place of sour creams, butter and creamy sauces.
- Use reduced fat yoghurt and milks, evaporated skim milk or corn-starch instead of cream in sauces or soups.
- Use non-stick cookware to reduce the need for cooking oil.
- When browning vegetables, put them in a hot pan then spray with oil, rather than adding the oil first to the pan. This reduces the amount of oil that vegetables absorb during cooking.
- As an alternative to browning vegetables by pan-frying, it is good to cook them first in the microwave, then crisp them under the grill for a minute or 2.
Retain the nutrients
- Scrub vegetables rather than peel them, as many nutrients are found close to the skin.
- Microwave or steam vegetables instead of boiling them.
- When boiling vegetables, use a small amount of water and do not overboil them.
- Include more stir-fry recipes in your diet. Stir-fried vegetables are cooked quickly to retain their crunch (and associated nutrients).
Suggestions to reduce salt include:
- Don’t automatically add salt to your food – taste it first.
- Add a splash of olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice close to the end of cooking time or to cooked vegetables – it can enhance flavours in the same way as salt.
- Choose fresh or frozen vegetables, since canned and pickled vegetables tend to be packaged with salt.
- Limit your consumption of salty processed meats such as salami, ham, corned beef, bacon, smoked salmon, frankfurters and chicken loaf.
- Iodised salt is best. A major dietary source of is plant foods. Yet there is evidence that Australian soil may be low in iodine and so plants grown in it are also low in iodine. If you eat fish at least once a week, the need for iodised salt is reduced.
- Avoid processed foods such as flavoured instant pasta or noodles, canned or dehydrated soup mixes, salty crackers, chips and salted nuts.
- Reduce your use of soy sauce, tomato sauce and processed sauces, stock powders and condiments (for example mayonnaise and salad dressings) because they contain high levels of salt.
Add flavour with herbs and spices
Here are a few tips you can try:
- Fresh herbs are delicately flavoured so add them to your cooking in the last few minutes.
- Dried herbs are more strongly flavoured than fresh. As a general rule, one teaspoon of dried herbs equals 4 teaspoons of fresh.
- Add herbs and spices to soups, breads, mustards, salad dressings, vinegars, desserts and drinks.
- Try some coriander, ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass with vegetables for a quick, healthy and delicious stir-fry.
For delicious healthy sandwiches:
- Switch to wholemeal or wholegrain bread.
- Include extra vegetables and salad fillings wherever possible
- Replace butter with avocado, nut spreads, hummus or margarine spreads made from canola, sunflower or olive oils.
- Choose reduced fat cheese or mayonnaise wherever you can.
- Instead of processed meats, try alternatives like lean chicken, felafel, canned tuna or salmon.
- Enjoy toasted sandwiches with baked beans.
Other things to keep in mind
Additional suggestions for healthy eating include:
- Take time out to enjoy eating, away from screens and other distractions, and eat with others when you can.
- You are less likely to overeat if you eat slowly and savour every mouthful.
- And remember small changes, big impact. Making small, gradual changes to your diet (rather than restrictive eating or crash diets) will help you adopt healthy eating habits for life.